Karachi, Aug 8: Legal luminaries in Pakistan feel that impeachment towards President Musharraf first and then tackle the deposed judiciary would further complicate the already much-delayed issue of restoration of the judges as it had many technical obstacles.
They are of the view that the restoration of Supreme Court judges must have come first and then the impeachment course would have been open and easier. In case Musharraf defeats the impeachment motion, or he once again dissolves the Assemblies by invoking Article 58 (2) (b), he would emerge more stronger and then the issue of restoration of judges would be put on the back burner for an indefinite time, and the countrywide movement launched by the lawyers would also die down.
Barrister Abrar Hasan, the former President of the Sindh High Court Bar Association, said that the purely legal issue of the restoration of the sacked judges had been politicised beyond repair and the entire struggle by the lawyers had been damaged. "What will happen if the move to impeach the president fails? It will otherwise put a seal on the fate of the sacked judges," he said to the sources.
At least the restoration of the judiciary, the number one agenda, would be put on the backburner, he added "There will now be a delay of at least 45 days." According to him, any President could be impeached on three grounds alone, firstly mental or physical incapacity, secondly a violation of the Constitution and lastly, gross misconduct. "None of these grounds are available in the particular circumstances of President Musharraf," he said and added that alternatively it means impeachment becomes an 'impossible task'.
Sindh Bar Council member and a prominent leader of lawyers movement, Salahuddin Ganadpur, also foresees difficulties in the restoration of the judges by the Aug 14 deadline. He also said that in case Musharraf dissolved Assemblies by invoking Article 58 (20 (b), the lawyers' movement would suffer badly. "President Musharraf has no respect for any institution or for the Constitution and with his previous track record any action from him could not be ruled out," he added.
Justice (Retd) Wajihuddin Ahmed, a former chief justice of the SHC, judge of the Supreme Court and a presidential candidate, said that the restoration of judges before the initiation of the impeachment proceeding would have been 'more appropriate'. The government is claiming a clear two-thirds majority and must have been counting on the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal and ANP votes.
He said that the initiation of Impeachment proceedings did not snatch away the powers conferred upon the President in Article 58(2) (B).